Quick Hits

The verdict is in: Bad trade.

I’m referring, of course, to the Canadiens giving up on Matt D’Agostini.

A goal (including the third-period D’agger in the CH heart), an assist, four hits, plus-3.

And D’Agostini would have looked good at in Max Pacioretty’s spot on the Scott Gomez line.

Sadly, no one in a white jersey did.

Once again, Benoit Pouliot was a Not Ready for Prime Time player, with a stat line diametrically opposite to D’Agostini’s.

In 10:57 of ice time – only 45 seconds of which was in the third period with the game on the line – Benny managed to make errors on the first two St. Louis goals, take a penalty 175 feet from his net and finish the game at minus-2.

By the end of the second period, Jacques Martin had seen enough. Ryan White was bumped up to the Gomez line and Andrei Kostitsyn got a copuple shifts.

Nothing worked.

Jaro Halak made 26 mostly easy saves, surrounded by blue jerseys and safely protected from Canadiens forwards who, with rare exceptions, were disinclined to go to the net in quest of rebounds or second chances.

 

The Canadiens’ popgun attack was reminiscent of what we saw before Max-Pac began coming into his own. The value of a power forward was amply demonstrated by Chris Stewart and, especially, by David Backes.

There were rumours that Pierre Gauthier had asked about Backes when the Halak deal was being negotiated. You can see why John Davidson wouldn’t hear of it.

Backes had a goal, four hits and was plus-3. He’s a big, high-energy, annoying and highly-skilled guy who against whom no one likes to play.

Backes plays to the whistle on every shift, and not many Cnaadiens brought that degree of dedication to the Scottrade Centre tonight.

Lars Eller played hard in an effort to win one for the Goater. I thought he and Gomez were the best of the Canadiens forwards, but the industrious centres didn’t get much support from their wings.

And it was yet another game in which David Desharnais was reduiced to single-digit minutes on the fourth line.

The D had their hands full with swarming Blues. James Wisniewski was a turnover machine and finished minus-3. P.K. Subban crapped the bed on the play that led to the D’Agostini goal that put the game out of reach.

To their credit, however, the Dmen did a decent job of clearing what seemed too be an inordinate number of rebounds bouncing off Carey Price.

But let’s hear nothing about Halak winning the long-awaited goaltenders’ duel. As was not the case during his playoff heroics last spring, Jaro was playing behind a team that was, at least on this night, much better.

Without some big stops by Price, this one would have been an early rout.

At a certain point, Pierre Houde said the Canadiens looked like the team that had played last night. They had no jump, no rhythm or flow to their game, no commitment to winning one-on-one battles.

In short, they displayed none of the high-octane fuel that powered the winning streak.

Maybe it was a psychological hangover after the Pacioretty injury and the media-fuelled circus that ensued. You know the team isn’t mentally ready when its captain is taking brain-dead penalties.

(Wait! Saku used to do that … oh, never mind.)

Martin and his staff have work to do to prepare the Canadiens for their visit to Pittsburgh.

Job 1: Find a linemate with hair on his butt for Gomez and Brian Gionta.

Because based on what we saw tonight, number 57 ain’t no number 67.

• The Canadiens are still undefeated with Brent Sopel in the lineup.

•  When the Stanley Cup champions visit the Bell Centre April 5, it will be the Canadiens’ last chance to salvage a win against the Central Division.

• Mike Cammalleri doesn’t have a point in a 2011 road game.

31 Comments

  1. Bleu blanc rouge says:

    Pouliot………The new Gomez. Let the whipping begin!

  2. Cape Breton says:

    Cape Breton

  3. PeterD says:

    What I saw tonight was a team that still has their collective heads in Montreal worried about MaxPac, and not focussed on the current game.  This needs to be addressed tomorrow by the coaching staff and team leaders in the room.

    They never played with the heart and desire that was evident in the previous 5 wins, and understandably so after what they witnessed in the game on Tuesday night when Max took the horrific assault into the stanchion.  But as Max would probably say, that is in the past and the team needs to get refocussed on the next game.  Unless the emotions of the players on the team are addressed and dealt with they will not bounce back right away.

    My prescription is for Coach Martin to bring in some Post Traumatic Stress de-briefers to sit with the team in lieu of their next practice…what these players saw and experienced on Tuesday was a horrific incident within feet of their bench to one of their team mates…the sound alone was enough to have turned stomachs…This incident followed by the NHL’s lack of action would be enough to make any young player question what might be their own fate if they go near the boards or into the corners in a game…what sort of assurance do they have that their safety is in the least way important and protected in this league.  But I don’t want to go there with this post…what I think the players need is some post traumatic stress councelling to help them deal with their sense of violation and the violence done within inches of their faces to one of their own team/family member.

    I did like Eller again tonight…he seemed to put on a show, but the supporting cast was not there for the team to get the 2 points.  But I feel bad for Pouliot.  Obviously he is not Patches and to expect him to be Patches is unfair to both players.  Patches is a true Power Forward and for some reason the chemistry with Gio and Gomez works.  Pouliot seems to be more of a finesse player and it seems to work with DD and White et al.  But Patches and Pouliot are obviously not interchangable parts.

    So it would seem Martin and company will have to go back to the drawing board for a combination that works until Patches returns to take his place on that line.  But for now, lets put AK46 back with Moen and Eller…we all know that does work, and while we are at it, re-unite DD, Pouliot and White….again we all know that works.  Pleks, Halpern and Cammi will start to click once Cammi regains his timing and stamina…so maybe we can look to Hamilton and give Dawes a spin for a few days.

    That’s it for me for a week or so…off to Hawaii with my hunnie for a week on Saturday Morning and I am not going to appologize to anyone here on HIO for taking the break on the beach…Aloha baby!

     

  4. RS says:

    No need to panic about one game.

    It sure would be nice to see Plekanec and Cammalleri get scoring again. The Habs need those guys to lead the offence.

    It would also be nice to get Darche back. He is willing to use his body and go to the net.

  5. thebigguy says:

    It’d probably start with a gimel rather than a chet.

  6. habs001 says:

    one thing to remember that for every good road game this team has played there are 3 brutal ones…we really did not play worse today than the game we won in atlanta…

  7. jew4jah says:

    chara = חרה

  8. Habnofear says:

    Well, the rest of the season will be a roller coaster and the team is set in stone “barring any more injury’s!” At this point with the battered  and ageing D and undersized team ,it is what it is. As far as the NHL  CHANGING ITS WAYS …fat chance of that happening. We should of had a bigger and tougher team and hopefully Gauthier and Gainey get it now”got to fight fire with fire!” I am looking forward to the Beantown break dance in two weeks and hope we bring all the weapons in the back room! It’s time like this when I’d like to see Hab Fans every where ,with all their different views and thoughts take it easy on each other and try to enjoy the ride….Think of it as our gift to Patches.

  9. habsfan0 says:

    Boston hasn’t won the Cup since the Year Gimel!

  10. HNS says:

    Now that’s funny and I forgot all my Hebrew my fellow hejew.


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